Mobile app for NetsBlox designed by CS grad students wins award
In thinking about developing an app for NetsBlox, a block-based programming language that introduces coding to young learners, Devin Cruz Jean asked himself a simple question: Would he, as a middle school or early high school student, be interested in the data sets NetsBlox could access? The answer was no. “I would not be interested in this as a kid,” said Devin Jean, a second-year computer science graduate student. “You can pull all this data, but you cannot interact with it. The key is being able to interact with the data.” So, he made interaction easy, and the mobile app he developed has won Best Showcase Award from an influential international research forum.
The app, called PhoneIoT, connects to NetsBlox and introduces the Internet of Things, IoT, in the classroom, giving users access to all the sensors on an iOS or Android mobile device. Devin’s goal was to address barriers that have made it difficult to include some of the most ubiquitous contemporary computing concepts—Internet of Things, Cyber Physical Systems, networked sensing, and actuation—in K-12 computer science and engineering education.